1. The Economics of Knowledge and Innovation


Coordinator: Pierre Mohnen

The economic analysis of innovation has long been a strong point of the UNU-MERIT research portfolio. Work in this theme covers two basic questions, which also have important implications for many of the other research themes in the institute’s programme. These questions are (i) what are the economic factors that influence the innovation process and its efficiency?; and (ii) what is the economic impact of innovation?

Exploring the first of these questions, UNU-MERIT takes a broad perspective. The researchers in this theme not only work on theoretical frameworks founded on such narrow economic principles such as strict economic rationality, but also take into account other behavioural motivations, as well as the impact of economic institutions, and other non-economic factors that influence the innovation process. This leads to a diverse set of theoretical perspectives in which network economics and evolutionary economics form two focal points.

The analysis of the second question above is typically of an empirical or econometric nature. This work often starts at the level of the firm or other microeconomic agents, but by including innovation spillovers and other macroeconomic effects also covers analysis at the sector or country level. Three specific topics are driving this work on the quantitative analysis of innovation: the impact of innovation on firm and country performance, impact analysis of innovation policies, and the relationship between globalisation and innovation.

1. The Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
2. Social Protection, Inclusive Innovation and Development
3. Economic Development, Innovation, Governance and Institutions
4. Sustainable Development, Innovation and Societal Transitions
5. Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy
6. Migration and Development
7. ICT-enabled Innovation and Societal Transformations
8. Population, Development and Labour Economics